Watching a family member age and become vulnerable through a disability or cognitive decline is one of the hardest things you may ever face. You know they treasure their current lifestyle, yet you fear for their safety when they are alone.
An elder guardianship might seem like the best solution, and it may be for your loved one, but it is wise to understand the problems it may cause. Some issues depend on individual situations, but the two problems discussed below arise in many circumstances.
Elder happiness and mental health
A guardianship can strip individuals of the right to participate in decisions that affect themselves and their lives. For example, they may be denied the privilege of deciding to take a walk or have lunch with a friend. Having these basic rights taken away may affect their mental state and life enjoyment and could lead to depression.
Family relationships and dynamics
Have you asked your elderly relative what they think about the possibility of guardianship? Those who can still reason and understand generally do not like the idea of answering to a guardian. Your siblings or other relatives may also disapprove. In many cases, such disagreements can cause deep rifts to develop in even the most tight-knit families.
Are you sure guardianship is the answer?
Consider more research before you place restrictions on a parent or grandparent. You may discover that guardianship is more a last resort than the first approach to resolving elder safety concerns.
If you determine that guardianship is the best approach after all, a legal representative can guide you through your next steps. If you’d like to consider alternatives instead, they can probably offer recommendations (powers of attorney, etc.) and help you implement them.